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The Irish Society of Chartered Physiotherapists

5 Tips for Working from Home

Working from home has become more and more prevalent in recent times. For some  people, working from home has always been a part of their job, but there are ever  increasing numbers of people who are new to this way of working. Here are some tips that  anyone working from home can implement in their average work day, aimed at helping you  to to move and function as best you can throughout the day. 

 

1 Sit Comfortably! 

The notion of sitting comfortably often takes a back seat to the idea that we should always  sit up straight. Having a good quality and supportive chair is important, as well as keeping  your lumbar back supported, absolutely. But, this will be undermined if you are holding your  body in lots of tension, particularly in your upper back, shoulders and neck. With this in  mind it is more important to sit comfortably. If you are thinking about how upright you are  sitting, you probably aren’t sitting comfortably. So, relax and allow a little bit of slack in your  upper back and shoulders. This doesn’t mean to go and round your shoulders in a  complete hunch over your desk, rather try and find a happy medium between hunched over  and bolt upright. Having trouble relaxing your muscles? The next tip should help with that.  

 

2 Breathe  

Breathing. You do it all day, everyday. But, how often do you really think about it? Do you  recognise when it’s potentially working against you? To be more specific, Diaphragm  Breathing is whats important here, or simply put – belly breathing. When we are stressed  (Zoom meeting just crashed), our breathing pattern changes and we begin to take shallower  breaths and more of them, using the muscles of the neck to pull the ribcage up. This leads  to less oxygen entering the lungs and more CO2 remaining in the lungs. This is not  dangerous but it may leave you tightening up the muscles in your body, feeling fatigued and  even left with some unwanted brain fog. To counter this:  

Try engaging your Diaphragm to breathe by taking long, slow breaths in through your nose  and as you do so allowing your belly to expand. As you breathe out make sure to have a  good long exhale before the next breath in through the nose. This way of breathing should  allow more air into the lower lungs, which should really help your body relax.  

Also, maybe forget about aesthetics for this one, if done right your belly should stick out  quite nicely on each inhale. Practice makes perfect!  

 

3 Ergonomics  

How you position yourself and your desk within your home working environment can have a  major impact on how well you tolerate working from home. Try and opt for a good quality  chair that allows your hips to be higher than your knees. Have your work chair close to your  desk so that your forearms can rest on the desk. Having a minimal amount of bend at the  wrist will actually allow most of the whole arm to fall into a more relaxed position as well.  Try having your monitor roughly arms length away, at eye level or just slightly below and if  you have multiple monitors try and avoid having your neck rotated to one side for too long.  Having your feet flat on the ground can also keep you steady and supported. In general,  working on a laptop in bed or on the sofa is something your body probably won’t thank you  for.  

 

 

4 Movement  

Move as much as you possibly can. Understandably, that can be difficult at times while  working from home and you may have much less opportunity to move freely throughout the  day than you did before. Do your best to incorporate moving when and where you can.  Alternate between sitting and standing if you can, take plenty of short walks even if it is just  around the inside and outside of the house. If you must make or take a phone call, can you  do it while walking? If you are really stuck to the home desk for the 9-5 grind, utilise your  lunch break as much as you can to get some general movement in.  

 

 

5 Exercise  

Most people tend not to have a fully equipped gym in their home. However, this doesn’t  mean valuable exercise can’t be done throughout the day. You don’t have to look at it as a  workout session in which you need to be drenched in sweat by the end. Rather, incorporate  some light range of motion exercises and stretching throughout the day to help free up your  joints and improve your ability to move comfortably by the end of the work day. Our last  blog focussed on 5 simple exercises that can be done while working from home. Head over  to Facebook to check it out!  

There you go. 5 tips for everyone and anyone working from home. Hopefully these tips will  help you make the most of working from home.  

 

Stephen Coleman  

Chartered Physiotherapist  

Galway Bay Physio  

 

Should you need help with any aches, pains or injuries you may be experiencing, you can book in online with any of our 9 Chartered Physiotherapists www.galwaybayphysio.ie

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